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How populist crisis rhetoric affects voters in Switzerland


Wirz, Dominique Stefanie; Wettstein, Martin; Schulz, Anne; Ernst, Nicole; Schemer, Christian; Wirth, Werner (2019). How populist crisis rhetoric affects voters in Switzerland. Studies in Communication Sciences, 19(1):69-83.

Abstract

Right-wing populism has a long tradition in Switzerland. Nevertheless, only little is known about how populist messages in the media contribute to the success of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and to the acceptance of the party’s anti-immigration policies. In this study, we combine data from a large media content analysis (including newspapers and TV news shows) with data from a panel-survey in order to address this research gap. Thereby we differentiate between effects driven by the content and the form of right-wing populist communication. While right-wing populist content depicts immigrants and the political elite as a threat to the Swiss people, populist style evokes the sense of a crisis by emotionalizing and dramatizing the message. Populist style is therefore assumed to increase the persuasiveness of populist claims. The results of this study suggest that this is the case only for some voters, while it backfires for others.

Abstract

Right-wing populism has a long tradition in Switzerland. Nevertheless, only little is known about how populist messages in the media contribute to the success of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and to the acceptance of the party’s anti-immigration policies. In this study, we combine data from a large media content analysis (including newspapers and TV news shows) with data from a panel-survey in order to address this research gap. Thereby we differentiate between effects driven by the content and the form of right-wing populist communication. While right-wing populist content depicts immigrants and the political elite as a threat to the Swiss people, populist style evokes the sense of a crisis by emotionalizing and dramatizing the message. Populist style is therefore assumed to increase the persuasiveness of populist claims. The results of this study suggest that this is the case only for some voters, while it backfires for others.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Uncontrolled Keywords:Populism, crisis, anti-immigrant, linkage analysis, media effects
Language:English
Date:3 December 2019
Deposited On:15 Jan 2020 11:12
Last Modified:07 May 2020 09:28
Publisher:Seismo Verlag
ISSN:1424-4896
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.24434/j.scoms.2019.01.006

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